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Smoking spat on fast trains

[ 2011-08-10 10:50]     字号 [] [] []  
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There have been a number of complaints during the past few days about staff members smoking on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains.

Sun Honggang, a researcher from the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at Tsinghua University, wrote on his Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, that four members of the train's staff were found smoking on the high-speed train he was taking from Shanghai to Beijing on the night of Aug 7.

When the train was about to approach its destination, passengers in the rear part of the third carriage started to quarrel with a group of train attendants and railway policemen who were smoking in a vacant sightseeing carriage.

The quarrel lasted for about 40 minutes till the train arrived at Beijing, when only one of the smokers, a 57-year-old railway policeman, apologized to the passengers.

"The policeman explained that one staff member's relatives had just passed away and they were smoking to ease his sadness," Sun said on his Weibo.

"At first I was not going to publicize this on Weibo, because it might mean the staff are laid off. But it is a security issue," Sun said.

A man working for a Beijing-based media company, who asked for anonymity, was on board the same carriage. He told China Daily that the railway policeman and several train attendants were smoking on the train, but added that some of the train staff made sincere apologies to the passengers.

"The conductor apologized especially politely. She followed us to the exit and apologized all the way," he said.

"I am most worried about the conductor now and she wasn't one of the ones smoking," he added.

Smoking is banned on the high-speed train and reminders are regularly broadcast on every train. According to the railway fire safety regulations released by the Ministry of Railways in 2010, it is the train attendants' responsibility to stop passengers from smoking on the trains.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Smoking spat on fast trains

About the broadcaster:

Smoking spat on fast trains

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.